Lorie Tais moved from the Philippines to the United States with an impressive college degree and nearly a decade of corporate public relations experience under her belt. But even with her strong background, she knew landing a good job in a new country would present some challenges.
So Lorie decided to take the Certificate in Strategic Communications & Public Relations
to help her make the transition. It turned out to be a great choice — she honed her skills, made new friends, developed her professional network and gained insights into American business practices. And on her last day of class in 2016, she started a job at Microsoft that she called “a perfect fit.”
“The program definitely changed my life,” Lorie said. “After taking it, I felt more confident about jumping into work and conducting myself around people from different cultures.”
Congratulations on the new job, Lorie. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re doing?
I’m the senior communications manager in Microsoft Operations. I'm in charge of internal communications, reaching over a thousand employees. I also support our corporate VP with her executive communications. I help with her presentations, including coaching her on the storylines. I really love the fact that I’m applying a lot of storytelling skills I learned from the certificate program.
Was having your certificate useful during your job search?
During one conversation, I was asked what I’d done in the last year to further my career and advance myself as a professional — they knew I didn’t work for 10 months after moving to the U.S. I mentioned being in the UW PR and strategic communications certificate program. I’ve always had a drive for continuous learning and personal development, and I think the program was a perfect avenue for that.
How did taking this program help you adjust to the United States?
It was such a big step, coming from doing PR in the Philippines. There are so many differences from the U.S., especially working in a more diverse environment. So it was more than just filling a gap — the class gave me a lot of knowledge about how things are done here. I also met my first friends in the United States in the program. We still meet up, have picnics and stuff like that. My time in the program was really well spent.
What was it like to connect with your fellow students?
Apart from all the learning, that was my favorite part of the program — meeting new friends and building relationships. There was an openness, and we were able to form a bond. It’s an amazing group of people that I never thought I’d meet.
What did the instructors bring to the certificate program?
They not only taught us what they knew, but they also shared their own experiences. We learned from both their best practices and their mistakes.
Our connection didn't just end after the program; it extends to this day. They're very encouraging, supportive and inspiring. They've been such a rich resource.
Can you tell us a little about your practicum project experience?
I worked with four other classmates, and we helped the American Cancer Society come up with a communications plan for their Making Strides event. It was very helpful because it wasn't just about putting what we've learned into practice. It was also about the dynamics of working in a group in a real-life setting with a client — you have to work around so many factors.
How would you sum up the program?
It was a good combination of everything: great instructors, a good setting to meet people, and we were pushed to do our best. We were given homework that some of us had never seen or done before. We also went through a lot of exercises where we had to think on our feet.
The program is a perfect step if you're thinking of entering the field of communications or PR from a different profession. Even for someone like me, who has had many years of experience in PR, I still learned so much.